Anglers expect another strong weekend

BIG RAPIDS – It could be one of the best weekends for fishing.

“Steelhead are starting to show up at the lower stretches of the (Muskegon River),” Tom Vernon, of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley said. “There’s nothing at the top yet. Walleyes and smallmouth are doing their things. Hardy and Croton ponds are producing good good numbers of panfish and walleyes.”

At Manistee, fishing was hit or miss. A few Chinook were caught along the shelf in 100 to 200+ feet of water and south towards Big Sable point, the DNR said, adding lake trout were caught around 100 feet of water but it was slow.

“We’ve got better river flow in the Big Manistee,” Rob Eckerson, of Pappy’s Bait Shop, said, “and in all the rivers, for that matter. But it’s helped the Big Manistee the most. The temperature has dropped back down from 70 to 68, so that’s helpful. There’s been some summer run steelhead at the dam with the skamania strain. There’s resident browns there too. Bluegills have kind of done their spawning, if they were able to.”

A few steelhead were caught in the mix, usually from the top 30 feet of water. The north pier was slow. Steelhead can be a fun species to catch and release off the piers. They will usually hit spoons and body-baits so you can target a few different species at the same time.

“Because of the northwind, it’s been kind of slow,” a spokesperson at Tangled Tackle Co. in Manistee said “In a couple of days, it should be good for the pier.”

Salmon were scattered at Ludington, the DNR said. After the water cooled down a few coho were caught.

A few Chinook were straight out from the harbor, south and near Big Sable Point, the DNR reported. The salmon were anywhere from 120 to 200 feet of water and out to 400 feet and at 120 to 350 feet of water off the point.

“They’re starting to find some kings around,” Corey Houser at Captain Chucks in Ludington said. “I have not heard the depths or how far down in the water column they are. Lake trout fishing has been decent. On the inland lakes, bass fishing has been pretty good.”

The DNR added lake trout and steelhead were also in the mix from depths of 60 to 150 feet of water. A couple smallmouth were caught off the north pier using lures and plastics. If the adipose fin (fin between the dorsal and tail) of your catch is missing, the fish may have a coded wire tag, the DNR said.

“It’s been pretty outstanding,” a spokesman at the Frankfort Tackle Box said. “They’re catching everything. Lake trout, salmon and a few steelhead.”

Anglers are advised to save the head or snout of that fish and put it in one of the DNR head freezers at Copeyon Park or the Manistee fish cleaning station. Names will be drawn at the end of the year to win a gift card.

Fishing Tip:

Courtesy of the Michigan DNR

Always practice responsible recreation by cleaning up any leftover fishing line, hooks or other equipment before you leave and never dump unused bait into the water - dispose of it in the garbage.

All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license.